McCann Healthcare Worldwide

McCann Healthcare Worldwide

Arnold, Matthew

Better integration of diversified offerings the key to boosting global gumption

McCann Healthcare Worldwide is getting an overhaul, as the sprawling network seeks to better integrate its agencies for global tasks.

“We’re trying to reconfigure the organization to best meet the needs of our clients in a global, scalable way,” says Richard Nordstrom, who took over as global chief executive of the Interpublic Group healthcare network late last year. “We’ve got 70 different companies, and we don’t need 70 different companies. It needs to be a much more consolidated, highly integrated organization.” The group boasts 50 offices in 22 countries. Nine McCann healthcare agencies operate out of 12 offices in the U.S. alone.

Nordstrom remains coy about providing any details around the group’s consolidation. McCann Healthcare includes such storied agency names as Adair-Greene Healthcare Communications, Regan Campbell Ward and the Torre Lazur McCann empire, along with consumer shop McCann HumanCare and a pair of medical education operations – Caudex and Continuing Medical Education Company.

“We have every kind of diversified service – DTC, DTP, CRM and CME. We’re a media-neutral network,” explains Nordstrom. “We’re trying to create a fully integrated media-neutral network that can serve clients on a global basis.”

McCann Erickson’s partnerships with tech giants such as Intel and Microsoft give it an edge. “McCann is the largest propagator of SharePoint in the world, and we have to be, because we have clients that expect global quality assurance,” notes Nordstrom. That technological know-how, he adds, is helping the group’s smaller European med ed agencies pitch and win assignments that were previously above their weight.

Nordstrom forecasts single-digit growth for McCann Healthcare in 2005. So far, it’s been a mixed year for the company’s professional agencies.

Regan Campbell Ward

Regan Campbell Ward endured a series of setbacks with several promising accounts. Novartis’ PTK/ZK, for colorectal cancer, and Aclasta, for osteoporosis, both saw disappointing trials data this year, and the agency’s business on Tysabri, for Crohn’s disease, remains up in the air. “Vioxx had a domino effect on the whole industry,” says Regan Campbell Ward managing partner Maureen Regan. “Everything is under more scrutiny, and things that might have been approved are being delayed.”

However, the agency enjoyed a big win in September, taking home global professional work for Genentech’s Herceptin, as well as the global professional business for Novartis diabetes drug LAF237. McCann HumanCare will handle global consumer work on both accounts. In addition, Regan Campbell Ward landed U.S. professional work for Biovail’s Zovirax cold sore treatment in the first quarter of 2005.

Torre Lazur McCann

Torre Lazur McCann had forecasted slower growth for the year after a very good 2004, but it has outperformed expectations, largely through growth among its existing accounts, Nordstrom says. Among the highlights, East Hanover, N.J.-based Echo Torre Lazur is handling professional advertising for Sepracor’s Lunesta, and its flagship office in Parsippany, N.J., produced memorable work, like its Mucinex campaign for Adams Laboratories featuring Mr. Mucus. The Chicago office was pared down after losing marquee accounts with Abbott Laboratories, including Humira, Depakote and Kaletra, but is forging ahead with business from Gelita, General Mills and Delphi Medical Systems. “We have a core group of people committed to building that business back,” says Nordstrom.

Torre Lazur West (the former BioGenesis Group) tapped Michael Ouimette from Pacific Communications to lead new business development for the group. For the year ahead, Torre Lazur U.S. chief executive Beverly Breitenbach says the agency is focusing on developing its capacity in specialized marketing services such as digital marketing, managed markets and A/V production.

Adair-Greene Healthcare Communications

Adair-Greene lost several assignments from Stiefel Laboratories, but picked up business from Kimberly-Clark Healthcare, Meretek Diagnostics, First Horizon Pharmaceutical and Hospira, along with King Pharmaceuticals’ Thrombin-JMI and Synercid IV and the EP franchise of Boston Scientific. The Atlanta-based shop also added a chief marketing officer, Mark Perlotto, and a director of client services, Eddie Capparucci, and launched a self-promotional effort, “Young Brand Blues,” positioning Adair-Greene as a go-to agency for emerging brands.

But the agency showed it knows a thing or two about mature brands as well, with its work for King’s Thrombin-JMI. “That was a brand that hadn’t gotten the promotional attention it deserved,” says president Jay Levy. “Our campaign caused it to grow very nicely.” The drug’s sales for the first quarter of 2005 were up 60 percent, year on year, to $63.3 million.

McCann HumanCare

McCann HumanCare saw solid growth, but suffered from the withdrawal of Bextra and the flap over its Viagra ads, which Pfizer pulled at the PDA’s behest. The firm relieved Cline, Davis & Mann of the Viagra consumer account a year ago, and its “Wild Thing” spots were hailed as a breath of fresh air for the brand. But all that was before the Vioxx chill set in, and after several months of dead air with minimal impact on sales, Pfizer executives say they’re not likely to return the brand to TV at previous levels.

McCann HumanCare is in the midst of one of the year’s most successful consumer launches with its work for Sepracor’s Lunesta, which is gobbling up market share in the sleep segment at a jaw-dropping pace, and the shop has pulled in new work from GlaxoSmithKline.

Andrew Schirmer, executive vice president and managing director of McCann HumanCare, says the agency is focused on its relationships with GSK, Pfizer and Novartis, and is implementing partnerships with McCann sibling CRM shop MRM Partners and with Interpublic brand/design firm FutureBrand. “That gives us an opportunity to expand the offering on behalf of our patient and consumer group in many channels with many different stakeholders,” says Schirmer.

For Sepracor, McCann Humancare partnered with Echo Torre Lazur, which handled professional work. The two units collaborated from start to finish on the production as well as the design of the campaign. “It’s one of the first times a campaign idea was not only shared between the professional and consumer sides, but strategic and creative development was driven by an integrated team to ensure a single, focused concept,” says Schirmer.

The network’s reorganization should begin to take shape this month, and it’s clear that McCann Healthcare intends to accentuate its global capabilities. Of course, many a network has retooled its infrastructure in recent years only to find its clients lagging behind their worldly ambitions. But McCann Healthcare executives see the group’s reach as its distinguishing feature.

“McCann is the most global of all agency networks,” says Regan Campbell Ward’s Regan. “No one else can even come close. When you look at the network in terms of professional advertising, we’ve occupied a leadership position. But when you look at depth and breadth, McCann should be the leader.”-Matthew Arnold

Copyright CPS Communications Jul 2005

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